Discussion N64 Noob Thread

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Matthew

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@Luke and I are getting really close to finishing up a guide for the N64 and I figured this would be a good way of making sure we covered all of our bases.

This thread you can ask any question you want and we can either answer it or we will make sure it gets covered in our guide, if it isn't already.
 

Noah

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There are a bunch of commonly asked ones that I have answered many times before.
  • What is the difference between the revisions?
  • What kind of video outputs can you get on the N64?
  • What is the maximum board trim? (not even really answerable at the moment)
  • What games work without an expansion pack?
  • What voltages does the N64 require to boot? (I'd hope this one is covered lmao)
  • What is the best controller to use for the N64? (IMO first party with converter microcontroller)
  • What is a RAM swap?
  • Does the N64 need to have a cartridge slot? (Yes, I have been asked that before and the only alternative is building in a flash cart)
  • What is RGB video and are there screens that can accept it?
  • What is RCP wiring? (irrelevant at this point in time, enter board bending)
  • How much does the average N64 portable cost to make?
  • What size screen is best? (Personal preference of course, but the N64 outputs most games at 320x240)
  • Can I remove X component from the board? (Probably yes unless its the RAM, RCP, CPU, video encoder, audio chip, crystals, or PIF.)
  • What regulators are best to power the console?
 

Gman

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I think more documentation needs to be done on N64 trimming. Trimming in front of the expansion slot has always been really finicky for me. I always rewire those 2 or 4(depending on how far you trim) traces in front of the slot but sometimes it doesn't always boot after that. I think it may have to do with the revision.
 

Noah

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I think more documentation needs to be done on N64 trimming. Trimming in front of the expansion slot has always been really finicky for me. I always rewire those 2 or 4(depending on how far you trim) traces in front of the slot but sometimes it doesn't always boot after that. I think it may have to do with the revision.
I plan on doing a really thorough write up on trimming around December once I really begin work on my secret project. I still have a large stash of N64 consoles so I probably have several revisions that I will be doing (mainly 3, 4, 5, 8 and 9 since they are the most frequent)

IIRC those lines don't carry anything specific that would make the console stop working. Might be different for earlier revisions but for 5+ I have trimmed that and the expansion port off itself with no problems.
 
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I think more documentation needs to be done on N64 trimming. Trimming in front of the expansion slot has always been really finicky for me. I always rewire those 2 or 4(depending on how far you trim) traces in front of the slot but sometimes it doesn't always boot after that. I think it may have to do with the revision.
Ive seen someone cut them out entirely before.
 

Matthew

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Thanks for the questions, I'll make sure that we either address them or put it in a FAQ some where.

Does the N64 need to have a cartridge slot? (Yes, I have been asked that before and the only alternative is building in a flash cart)
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Just trimmed up my board... Can someone check my wiring?

I've got 3.3 going into C141 and 7.4v to the top right. Also my ground wire is just hanging out near the red LED.. is that okay?

Thanks

 

Matthew

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The place where you put your ground wire is fine, though it might be a pain later on. Your trim looks a little rough and i would suggest you sand the sides down a bit until they are smooth to the touch. Your soldering job also looks a little rough. I would look at some tutorials online (or in the beginners section here) about soldering and redo those. Also it looks like your 3.3v isn't exactly on point. While to be honest, I'm not certain if that will cause any problems it's definitely something that you should redo.

Before you start working further I would suggest getting some old circuit boards that are laying around or from the garbage and practice your soldering skills on them. N64's are pretty expensive and really finicky, it would really stink to fry it because you aren't practiced enough.
 

Stitches

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Just trimmed up my board... Can someone check my wiring?

I've got 3.3 going into C141 and 7.4v to the top right. Also my ground wire is just hanging out near the red LED.. is that okay?

Thanks

I'd also get some rubbing alcohol and a soft bristled toothbrush and clean all that shit off the board. It'll make further soldering more difficult, and just looks bad.
 
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Haha thanks for all the replies guys. You're right, it looks like sh*t. I didnt bother sanding or cleaning because Im reducing it further to fit into my gameboy advance carrying case.

I have some questions about the further reduction..
Im assuming the same contacts are used for 3.3v and 7.4v... but ill be cutting off the LED and that chunk of metal so where should I put my new ground?

Also, since I'm cutting off the LED... is there another convenient way for me to test if the board still works after I reduce? I Know testing the LED light isnt a fullproof method as it doesnt tell me if my board actually works, but its nice that it tells me if my board is getting power.
Is there some place after reduction that I can resolder on the LED?

Thanks again for all your answers and comments!! Super helpful

free image hosting
 

Noah

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LED is actually a bad test, it just verifies that you've got 3.3v. I normally leave the 64DD port on my boards that I trim so I can just stick the cart slot back in without wiring it back up.

Only way for you to test will be to wire everything up I'm afraid :P
 
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Thanks! I ended up wiring everything up and it works great.

Ive got another question..

Is it okay for me to use 30awg (kynar) wire to hook up the controller buttons inside my case?
 

Stitches

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Thanks! I ended up wiring everything up and it works great.

Ive got another question..

Is it okay for me to use 30awg (kynar) wire to hook up the controller buttons inside my case?
Yep. Kynar and magnet wire are fine for low current applications like buttons.
 
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Hey, I'm not really sure what wire to buy for my n64 portable, so if anyone could link to me good wire for powering it, wiring the controller, relocating game cartridge, etc, that would be great!
 

Shank

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Ah the ancient iLuv speaker. It has an internal amplifier and used to be popular with portablizers, but it is a quite antiquated method. I would advise against it. The speakers are pretty big too IIRC. I'd go with the classic PAM8803 based amp instead and some 1w+ speakers of your choice, like these popular ones
 
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Ah the ancient iLuv speaker. It has an internal amplifier and used to be popular with portablizers, but it is a quite antiquated method. I would advise against it. The speakers are pretty big too IIRC. I'd go with the classic PAM8803 based amp instead and some 1w+ speakers of your choice, like these popular ones
Good thing I asked before I bought them haha. I'll definitely go with the one you recommended, especially since it comes with 5. Thanks!
 
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Ah the ancient iLuv speaker. It has an internal amplifier and used to be popular with portablizers, but it is a quite antiquated method. I would advise against it. The speakers are pretty big too IIRC. I'd go with the classic PAM8803 based amp instead and some 1w+ speakers of your choice, like these popular ones
My god thank you, I've been searching (admitedly, not for very long) for a simplistic amp with tact switch controls. This seems awesome.

EDIT : 'found' these in the BOM.. guess I wasn't looking very hard..
 
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Yo 1 more thing, I think I have about everything I need, except for batteries? I want to use 2, 3.7v batteries for mine, just not sure which protection circut/charger packs work with the specific battery so if someone could help me out on that, it would be great!

(edit)
On Digi-Key do I have to choose the dropdown that says PTH08080WAST?
https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/PTH08080WAZT/296-26311-1-ND/2254959

Sorry for all these basic questions hehe just making sure.
 
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Whats the standard for n64port batteries nowadays?

Do people still use the lion camcorder 7.4v batteries? (as made popular by bacteria) or have we found something better?
 
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